Marcus Tullius Cicero, Pro Caelio [On Behalf of Caelius]

Thomas Wilfred Hillard (Macquarie University)
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On April 4th, 56 BCE, Cicero delivered his defense of Marcus Caelius Rufus before an unusually large crowd in the Roman forum, and it was probably published soon afterwards. It was a sparkling performance, and the speech as it survives is considered one of Cicero’s finest. Quintilian, the celebrated rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric, writing around a century and a half later, cites the oration twenty-odd times in appreciation of its strategies, its figures of speech and its prose rhythms.

Caelius had been accused of some manner of crime against the property of a woman called Palla, causing a civil disturbance in Naples, assaulting ambassadors from Alexandria in Puteoli (Pozzuoli), the murder of the chief ambassador (the philosopher Dio), receiving gold under false pretenses to finance

4662 words

Citation: Hillard, Thomas Wilfred. "Pro Caelio". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=20494, accessed 05 March 2024.]

20494 Pro Caelio 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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